President Saakashvili signed on March 18 decree approving appointment of Georgia’s nine new ambassadors, whose nominations were approved by the Parliament on February 20, the president’s administration said on Monday.
Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze accused the President on March 15 of deliberately dragging out appointing these nine ambassadors, including in Washington and Brussels. She said that delay in appointing new ambassadors was not contributing to an effective implementation of foreign policy goals. First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani also complained about the issue earlier on March 18, before the announcement was made by the president’s administration that Mikheil Saakashvili signed the decree.
Georgia’s new ambassador to the United States will be Archil Gegeshidze, who was a senior fellow at the Tbilisi-based think-tank Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). In 1990s he served as head of the foreign policy analysis department at the president’s office and was President Shevardnadze’s senior foreign policy advisor. Gegeshidze holds a diplomatic rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary; he, however, has never served in any diplomatic posts. Before joining GFSIS, Gegeshidze was a Fulbright scholar at the Stanford University.
Natalie Sabanadze will be Georgia ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. Sabanadze was previously a senior political advisor to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities since 2005.
Ekaterine Siradze-Delaunay will be ambassador to France. A graduate of University of Paris I, Pantheon-Sorbonne, Siradze-Delaunay, is a newcomer in diplomatic and government service; she was an executive director of a Tbilisi-based election watchdog International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) in 2007-2011.
Zaza Kandelaki, who was Georgia’s deputy foreign minister in 2003-2004 and then served as ambassador to Poland in 2004-2005, will be ambassador to Hungary.
Teimuraz Janjalia, who was head of the department for international economic, cultural and humanitarian relations at the Foreign Ministry, will be ambassador to Latvia; he was chargé d'affaires at the Georgian embassy in Latvia in 2006.
Konstantine Zaldastanishvili, who was Georgia’s ambassador to Brussels in 2000-2005, will be ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to OSCE and other Vienna-based international organizations. Zaldastanishvili has been secretary general of Brussels-based EU-Georgia Business Council since 2005.
Zaal Gogsadze, who served as Georgia’s ambassador to Italy in 2004-2008, will be ambassador to the Czech Republic; in the October elections Gogsadze ran as Georgian Dream’s majoritarian MP candidate in single-mandate constituency of Terjola, but lost the race to UNM candidate.
Kakha Sikharulidze, who was Georgia’s deputy foreign minister in 2002-2005 and ambassador to the Czech Republic in 2006-2007, will be ambassador to Italy. Sikharulidze has been head of international news at PM Ivanishvili-funded Channel 9 TV station since July, 2012.
Mikheil Ukleba, who was first deputy foreign minister in 1990s and minister for privatization in 1998-2001, will be ambassador to Ukraine. Ukleba was ambassador to China in 2005-2008 and ambassador to Bulgaria in 2008-2012.